MEET AMY E. SKLANSKY
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. I can still hear my dad’s voice reading Madeleine to me.
I spent countless nights under my covers with book and flashlight, long after lights out. (Don’t tell my
mom.) Some of my clandestine companions back then were Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, The Secret
Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnette, books by Thornton W. Burgess, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh,
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George, and the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I so
adored the Little House books that I wore a calico dress like Laura for two straight Halloweens.
My love of reading fostered a love of writing. Memories of childhood include sitting crisscross on a giant
rock in my Lookout Mountain backyard to write poems, and then the thrill of seeing one of those poems
published in a local magazine.
In high school and college, I tried various kinds of writing: for the yearbook, newspaper,
and literary magazine. I interned at an academic journal, a small book publisher, and a
magazine in New York City.
But in the end, I was drawn to the world of children’s books. I’m fascinated by the way
pictures and words can be woven together to make a story come alive. And it thrills me to
see a child read a book over, and over, and over, and over again—or pester her parents
until they do! But I didn’t become an author right away.
I began my career in children’s literature as an editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books in New York, where
I worked for five years. One of my greatest joys as an editor was working with Jean Craighead George, a
childhood hero of mine. I even got to hear her howl like a wolf once--right in the office! Then I spent the
next five years working as an editor at Studio Goodwin Sturges in Boston, where I immersed myself in the illustration
side of bookmaking.
But the more I worked with authors, the more I wanted to try my own hand at writing. So, in 1999, I made
the leap and became an author myself. My first book, From the Doghouse: Poems to Chew On, was published
in 2002. I’ve published 10 others since. They include picture books, poetry collections, board books, and a nonfiction
My favorite part of writing is revising. Really. When I’m revising, that means I’m working on something I like
and think is worth improving. Kids are surprised when they learn that I revise every poem or story 10-15 times.
I love the quiet part of being an author: writing, research, setting my own schedule. But
other times, it’s nice to interact with other readers, including children at schools and
libraries. I enjoy talking to students and teachers about what I do. And it’s thrilling for
me to see my books being read and enjoyed out in the real world. In fact, it may be the
very best part of being an author.
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